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Should they all get bloodwork done?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
The vet is seeing my cats tomorrow. I originally asked her to do blood panels on all the cats, but now I'm debating whether that's necessary.

One cat has been drinking a lot (that's the main reason for the vet visit), so he definitely will get the bloodwork done. The other three cats seem pretty healthy, two 7-year-olds and a 10-year-old. Never had blood panels done before. But I figured that, if one cat is getting bloodwork anyway, all four might as well get the bloodwork...since the vet's already there, and since it could detect problems that aren't noticeable yet. Now, though, I'm beginning to think this is excessive. So, do you think all the cats should get bloodwork, or just the one?


Oh, more questions...

Do the cats have to forego food prior to the bloodwork? 12 hours?

How much *cringe* might it cost?

Was it silly of me to ask the vet for bloodwork instead of explaining the cat's symptoms and letting her decide what to do?

Can a blood panel detect diabetes (this is what I'm mostly worried about, with the cat drinking excessively and being overweight...weight gain doesn't sound like CRF...)
post #2 of 17
They need blood tests now since they are over 7 years old.
You do not need to fast them before blood tests.
It will detect Diabetes and a lot of other problems.
It does not sound like CRF at all.
I have a CRf cat.
The costs of the blood tests depends on where you live and the vet.
I pay 81 for kidney panels and 121 for senior panels.
post #3 of 17
If you can afford it, I would recommend getting blood work done on all of the cats. Between the ages of 7 to 10, a cat should have a baseline senior panel done. This will give you a baseline to check against, should anything go wrong in the future. It also can detect problems that might start to show up as the cat ages, such as kidney issues, diabetes, liver problems or thyroid problems.

Definitely get the blood work done on the cat who is drinking a lot, and is overweight. You need to rule out CRF (kidney problems) and diabetes. There is no need to have the cat NPO before having bloodwork done. Actually, not feeding could alter the results for BUN, Creatinine and serum glucose....the main reasons for having the bloodwork done in the first place!

I just had Cleo's bloodwork done three weeks ago, because she has CRF (chronic renal failure.) It was $140 for the blood draw, Chem 12, and CBC.

If you can't afford to have them all done at once, you could stagger them out over the next couple of months. I'd probably do the 10 year old next, and then the two 7 year olds this fall or even in the spring, depending on how your finances look.

Good luck!! I hope everything checks out okay for your gang
post #4 of 17
I start my baseline blood panels at around 8 years old unless I suspect there might be something wrong. Absolutely no harm in getting your 7 year olds a baseline now, and definitely recommend it for your 10 year old.
post #5 of 17
If you can afford it DO IT .... you may find something early enough not to have to go into crisis mode or just get a sense of what is normal for your nearly senior kitty

IMHO I am now aiming for a baseline at 1 yr , 5 yr s and then 7 or 8 yrs ... I found a couple issues with my young boys by doing the bloodwork
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the helpful answers so far! If I can afford it, I'll get blood panels for all the cats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
You do not need to fast them before blood tests.
A person I know had bloodwork done, in part to test for diabetes, and she couldn't eat for 12 hours prior. I just assumed it'd be the same with cats.
post #7 of 17
My dad has Diabetes and you do fast for some of the tests.
Cats are different.
post #8 of 17
We found out that Cleo had CRF when my vet did pre-op blood work for her spay surgery....she was 6 months old. She just turned 9 years old last month. I am paranoid, so I do blood work on my girls fairly often. Cleo yearly, and Maggie every other year (she's too freaked out to do it more often.) Lola's baseline pre-spay was normal, so I will have her senior panel done in a couple of years, when she turns 7 or 8. Of course, if any of them should have problems, I will do bloodwork right away for diagnosis, if needed.
post #9 of 17
I just had blood work done Memorial Day on my two cats (age guesstimate is 6-7, since they were adopted as adults). It was roughly $90 per panel. If you can afford it, it certainly doesn't hurt to have it as a baseline. But just call the office and ask about pricing - there are probably a few different panels they can run, based on your particular cat's history, and the prices may vary a bit.


And, with my two, they did not need to fast. I believe there are times when you need fasting blood work done, such as when they're checking levels on certain meds being administered or suspect certain illnesses, but just ask your vet how they want to handle. I have to say I was delighted they didn't have to fast!

I had to call the vet to double check too - I have diabetes and often have to do a fasting blood test.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, only two of the four ended up getting bloodwork. The excessive drinker and one of the 7-year-olds. The other two cats would need to be sedated.

So, has anyone had their cat sedated in order to get blood drawn?
post #11 of 17
I did once with Meeko.
She bit the vet and went nuts.
I rather not have a cat sedated for blood work though.
The last time Meeko had a blood test they did not sedate her.
There are other ways of doing.
Does your vet have a cat bag they can stick the cat in to get blood tests?

post #12 of 17
Regardless of age, I believe that annual bloodwork is important (personal opinion). Although no fasting is required, I still do a 12 hour fasting prior to being tested because I've been told in some instances, results can be skewed. Additionally, it'll be easier for me to compare results from year to year without questioning whether the meal before a certain test made a difference in certain numbers (consistency).
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post

Does your vet have a cat bag they can stick the cat in to get blood tests?
That's what the vet was trying to use for the one cat...but he freaked out, gave the vet and vet tech some nasty scratches, and got away (vet does house calls, it's not as if he ran away). The vet wouldn't even try drawing blood from my oldest, knowing how fierce she is. She said that if I really wanted the other two to get bloodwork, she'd have to bring in extra reinforcements to hold the kitties down

Now that I think of it, I should have asked the vet to let me put the cat in the cat bag since he wouldn't be as afraid of me. Too bad I didn't think of that at the time...
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
So, has anyone had their cat sedated in order to get blood drawn?
I have to sedate my Eightball just to have any type of thorough exam done on him. He was born feral and retained that behavior with anyone other than myself even though he's lived inside my house for the last 12 years. I don't like sedation, but if the cat bag and other devices fail, you don't have a lot of other choices. But with that said, I've been able to get blood drawn from feral cats without sedation. I'd hold them and the vet or vet tech would draw the blood. All cats are different. Eightball is an extreme case.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
Well, only two of the four ended up getting bloodwork. The excessive drinker and one of the 7-year-olds. The other two cats would need to be sedated.

So, has anyone had their cat sedated in order to get blood drawn?
We have a cat, "Catzilla", who unfortunately needs to be sedated for every visit to the vet. Since he was seven we have had bloodwork done and this year, he's 10 yrs., they found he had developed hyperthyroidism. Now treating him is going to be another challenge, BUT had we not had him tested, he'd would have become alot sicker before we would notice that something was wrong. Go for the bloodwork if at all possible, it will give you peace of mind and give your kitty a promise of a better life. But do keep it to a minimum.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
How is a urine test similar and different from a blood test?
Do both test for the same health issues?
Is one test more effective than the other in finding renal problems, diabetes, hyperthyroid, etc.? Is one more reliable?
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
How is a urine test similar and different from a blood test?
Do both test for the same health issues?
Is one test more effective than the other in finding renal problems, diabetes, hyperthyroid, etc.? Is one more reliable?
For a blood test, a needle is used and the blood is taken from a vein, just like in humans. A blood test would be the 'gold standard' to help rule out almost anything. With the same blood draw, you can have a "Chem 12" and a "CBC." done. The "Chem 12" 'tells you about liver function, kidney function, electrolyte levels, as well as protein levels, cholesterol levels and glucose levels. You usually need to specifically ask to have the T4 test run, which tells you the thyroid levels. The "CBC" is the 'complete blood count'. It can tell if the cat is anemic, and often, what type of anemia is present. It can also tell if a bacterial or viral infection is present, tell if the cat is adequately hydrated or dehydrated, and see if there is any other blood cell related issue going on.

A urine test is usually taken by 'Cystocentesis,' which is a needle stick into the bladded to draw off urine. This isn't as painful as it sounds, Lola has had many of them done (for UTIs) and she rarely if ever complains. The sample can be tested for concentration (USG, or urine specific gravity) which tells how well the kidneys are concentrating the urine. They can also measure the amount of protein in the urine, the amount of glucose, whether or not there are crystals or bacteria in the urine.

Both tests have their place in treatment. However, I have only had the urine test done on Lola, because she has recurring urinary tract infections. I can't have it done on Cleo, because she has CRF and gets sub-Q fluids, so the results would not be accurate. I haven't had it done on Maggie, even though she has CRF and doesn't get sub-Q fluids. Her blood tests have shown very little change in her albumin (a blood protein) so I haven't felt the need to check her urine for protein. Her CRF is early stage (by her blood test readings) so I haven't yet felt the need to check how well she concentrates urine either.


Please don't apologize for asking questions! We all ask questions so we can be the best advocate for our babies. And really....how else can we learn? By asking questions and getting answers, you now have a basis to search and do research on the internet, to verify any of the information you've gotten here, and make informed decisions about the care you will be giving your kitties!

Good luck!
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